This is a series of Youth Ministry Hacks to help youth workers get more out of their day. Want quick, practical tips to help you strengthen your ministry? This is the place! Here is today’s youth ministry hack:

Land on Youth Group Series Titles 6 Months Out
I’ve been to workshops where the person up front talks about how they’re already planning Easter services 2 years from now. How they’re so far ahead, so planned with virtually unlimited resources and seem to be cruising through ministry life. First of all, good for you. I have never been able to do that or even close in 20 years of youth ministry. Second, this sets very unrealistic expectations on me! There’s no way I can be planning for a series in 2024 this week. However, I can get ahead just a bit by knowing at least the direction of where I’m headed in the next 6 months or so.

Get a little direction ahead, and plan your series names 6 months out. You can do it pretty easily just surfing through the teaching on Download Youth Ministry. Once you get a direction and a sense of where you’re heading, you’re about to make a series of wins, here’s the hack: when you plan just a little bit ahead, you become a better delegator, collector and purchaser. Let me explain.

Becoming a better collector 
When you know the direction of your series, you’ll be a better collector. Let’s say you landed on a sex series this February or maybe during prom season. Great! Now that you know that, here in December, you’ve got a chance to grab articles, look for videos, watch pop culture or even overhear things from your students or parents that may make good teaching points, angles or object lessons. You’ll be such a great collector!

Here’s a continued example: you’ve got the sex series coming up and you find an article about teenagers being consumed with online games like Pokemon Go! and not having sex. What a great article to use in your message, or at least a place for humor in your message. Because you were planned out just a little bit ahead, you’ve collected this gem.

Becoming a better  delegator
When you’re planned out a few months even in the broadest strokes, you become a better delegator. So let’s go back to the sex series example – you one time saw this cool set at a conference, it was plastic plates hung in the shape of a heart. The light hits them so cool, and it was cheap and easy idea. If the series starts in the morning, you’ve got almost no chance of getting something cool like this done. If you’re ahead just a bit, you can ask a key volunteer or intern or if you’re creative yourself you can crank this out. How cool would this be in your youth room for a month? Easy when you planned it out!

Becoming a better purchaser
Want to save money? Want to let your good ideas marinate into great ideas? Want to make your budget go much further than ever before? When you’re planned out just a bit you can save money, print in advance, and not incur rush charges.

In a perfect world, you could steal an idea, purchase it at the best possible price, and have a volunteer pull it off. Now THAT’s a hack! Hope the helps! Share you #ymhacks on Twitter, too!